Season of hustle

If you’re in business, you’ll know that depending on your industry there are certain times of the year or certain seasons where business booms. For toy stores, it’s Christmas. For chocolate stores, it’s Easter. For florists, it’s Mother’s Day. And for personal trainers, it’s Spring.

Business goes in cycles and things will not always be up and they will not always be down. A savvy business owner will recognise when the boom periods are for their industry and they’ll maximise their time and effort during these times in the cycle. They’ll push, they’ll grind, they’ll go all out to maximise the return during the season of hustle!

Spring has sprung in Melbourne and for personal trainers and any other businesses in the health and fitness space, your season of hustle has begun! So get cracking!!! It’s your season to make noise. It’s your season to hustle and grind and do the leg work to build your business.

Go get ’em!

Questions versus caring

As a business owner or sales person welcoming a new customer into a business, you have two choices – you can ask them questions, or you can genuinely care about helping them.

This morning, while I was stretching after my workout, I witnessed a cringe-worthy example of all questions and no care. A new prospect walked into my gym to join. The girl behind the desk had clearly never met this man before.

In the most uninterested tone I have ever heard, she asked the gentleman, “How did you hear about us?”. “What is the reason you are joining today?” and then “Can you fill this out.”

She answered his questions about the cancellation policy. And then she said “oh by the way my name is Jenna.” (And she did this while staring down at a the desk while he was staring at the form he was filling in).

She never came out from behind the desk. She never shook the man’s hand and welcomed him. She never asked his name. She never cared about anything he said. She never once genuinely cared about helping him in any way.

Once his form was complete, she handed him his access card and told him it would be active within half an hour.

He left.

She never said goodbye. She never thanked him for becoming a member.

Business is about relationships. It is about helping people and solving their problems. If you’re not in business to help people, then you’re in the wrong game. If you’re in any type of customer service roll and you’re not genuinely interested in serving the customer, then please get out and go do something else.

Needle in a haystack

If you run a small business you’ll know how incredibly difficult it is to get and keep customers. Marketing is a constant challenge. Getting traction with any marketing or brand awareness activity can be frustrating and sometimes fruitless. Expecting that you can run one campaign and have customers falling from the sky is… well, it’s just not realistic.

Building brand awareness and getting customers just doesn’t work like that.

Just because you run a small business doesn’t mean that people know your business exists. In fact I can guarantee you that 99.99% of people do NOT know your business exists at all. If you’re thinking otherwise, in the words of Darryl Kerrigan – “You’re dreamin’.”

Even if people know your business exists, they’re probably not looking to buy from you in that moment. Even if they are looking for what you have to offer, that doesn’t guarantee that they will buy from you – there are many other competitors that they can choose from.

Being successful in small business is incredibly challenging and that’s why only a fraction of small businesses succeed. I know this sounds all a bit doom and gloom but it’s just the reality of small business. Understanding just how little of your marketing efforts people actually see is vital to understanding just how much marketing is needed and how consistent it needs to be to be effective.

Our senses are bombarded with over 11 million bits of data every SECOND. The average person’s working memory can handle 40-50 bits, max. That means we ignore 10,999,950 bits of data every second we are awake. It’s most likely your marketing activities are in THAT 10,999,950 bits of data that are being ignored!

Does that mean you stop doing marketing because “it’s not working?” NO! Does that mean you have to do a HELL of a lot MORE to get noticed! YES!

I did an interesting exercise today on my morning commute. In a half hour period, I wanted to count the number of cars and trucks who were advertising brands I either knew or had never seen before. The results?

In 30 minutes, I counted 38 cars and trucks which were signed with brands I knew. What was staggering was that I saw 51 cars and trucks signed with brands I had NEVER seen before.

The brands I recognised were companies that had put themselves in front of me not once, not twice, but probably hundreds if not thousands of times. They were brands like Coles, Bunnings, Toll, Ventura and Jim’s.

If you think people know your business exists, they don’t.

If you think a few weeks of marketing is going to have people banging your business door down, unfortunately it won’t.

If you think just by showing up once or twice, you can draw the crowd, I’m here to tell you it just doesn’t work that way.

Your business is a needle in a haystack. You need to market your business as if it’s a needle in a haystack and be persistent, consistent and relentless. You have to hussle. You have to go to your customers; they will NOT come to you.

Only the most determined will survive!

The meaning of business

Today’s post is for all the small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs….

So you run a small business. What exactly does being in business mean? What is it that you do? Here is one definition: being in business is the act of trading goods or services with customers, for money

Here is my definition – business is an exchange of value.

Now the whole money thing is interesting. Are your thoughts around being in business anchored in the ideal of money? Are you constantly in fear of not enough money coming in or too much money going out? I know I have been. It’s only natural. Most likely you are in business to make a living. I think it’s probably safe to say most people in business are pretty focused on money. Would it be safe to say then that most people in business would add money somewhere into the definition of business?

Let me ask you this question – if business is all about money, how was business conducted before money was invented? Hmmmmm………

Through history, the art of business was about trade, not money. Once upon a time, there was no such thing as money. People traded goods, food, livestock, grain, fur, cowry shells, beads, weapons, even other people in the act of doing business with another person. The act of business was about trading goods or services of equal value.

Business was about value, not money.

Then along came precious metals such as gold and silver which were highly sought after and became valuable commodities for trade. Coins began being produced and used for trade before paper money, plastic money and now in the 21st century, virtual money in the cloud.

So is business really about money or is it about value? What do you think?